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Encounters

Film Review

Film title: Encounters
Director: Encounters
Release date: 26 March 2012
Certificate: 18
Scotty McKellar | 02 Apr 2012

This new collection from the BFI presents four classic short films of gay cinema, rescued from obscurity, cleaned up and given some love. The 1960s and 70s were challenging times for filmmakers tackling LGBT themes while trying to dodge the censors. But taken out of context, and presented here bare-bones to a modern viewer, the value and meaning of the filmmakers' achievement is lost. A lavish booklet does present some analysis of each film, but the disc itself is a missed opportunity. A short interview with writer/director Lloyd Reckford (Dream A40) gives an all-too-brief glimpse of what might have been. The most traditional film, Vapours, set in a sleazy New York bath house, and the Orwellian Dream A40 are the most successful, but the others fall short. Without commentary or a more in-depth documentary, ten minutes of naked hippies rubbing each others' backsides in a warehouse remains just that. [Scotty McKellar]